March 22, 1920: Washington ratifies women’s right to vote

On March 22, 1920, the Washington state legislature voted unanimously to ratify the 19th amendment. The Herald went to press that evening, spreading the news that the nation had finally begun to catch up with the state, which had enacted women’s suffrage 10 years prior. Here’s an excerpt from the front-page story:

Scores of women leaders were here from all parts of Washington to celebrate the expected ratification.

Secretary of State L. M. Howell agreed to give the pen with which he will sign the suffrage resolution to Mrs. Donner Baker of Seattle. Mrs. Baker and Lady Willie Forbes, Seattle attorney, called on Howell to arrange for the ceremonies attendant upon signing the resolution. He agreed to stage the proceedings as they wished. As soon as the resolution passed both houses, Secretary Howell was to certify it and send it to Washington.

Women in the state started to campaign for suffrage in 1909. And, by the following year, they received it. Washington was the first state in the twentieth century and the fifth state in the Union to give women the right to vote.

Herald reporter Gale Fiege wrote about it near the 100th anniversary of the vote in 2010:

A century ago, Washington became one of the first states in the nation to give women the right to vote alongside their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. But the tale that leads to this centennial is full of little-known histories.

Even before Washington achieved statehood in 1889, women already had won the right to vote, only to see it taken away a few years later when the territorial Supreme Court reversed the decision on a technicality.

The story, with its cast of famous and infamous characters, includes chapters on the state flower, the liquor lobby, labor unions, poster paste and a lot of ladies determined to win a better life for themselves and their families.

On Nov. 8, 1910, men in Snohomish County and around the state cast their ballots and decided overwhelmingly to give women the vote. The news from Washington state energized the national women’s suffrage movement and the fight for what would become the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Women’s suffrage took effect nationally on Aug. 26, 1920, eight days after the amendment was ratified.

See for yourself: Check out the March 22, 1920 edition in our collection of historical front pages.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Man arrested after stolen car crashes in Everett

The accident occurred in the 100 block of SE Everett Mall Way.

5-vehicle crash in Arlington kills 62-year-old woman

Medics had transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

2 men hospitalized after rollover collision on U.S. 2

Two men were taken to the hospital with minor injuries… Continue reading

Marysville police serve a warrant — across the street from HQ

A man who fled was taken into custody. Police were serving a warrant for alleged drug-related crimes.

If vehicles crash and tumble, rescuers want to be ready

The Puyallup Extrication Team practiced with other fire departments on cars, SUVs and even buses.

Marysville man charged with stabbing wife who sought divorce

Nathan Bradford, 45, found divorce papers while going through the woman’s car.

Most Read